|Kansas senior guard Travis Releford busted out of a season-long slump on Monday night against Washington State. (AP)|
Through three games, Kansas' offense left a lot to be desired. Washington State coach Ken Bone saw the Jayhawks' 24.5 percent 3-point percentage and game planned to pack the paint and make KU's shooters beat them in Monday night's CBE Classic semifinal in Kansas City.
The Jayhawks ran the Cougars out of their packed-in zone and out of the Sprint Center with a 78-41 win.
"I thought we did a really good job moving the ball in the first half, and of course we made shots," KU coach Bill Self said. "Everything looks better when you make shots, but we got the ball where we've wanted it and guys shared it, and that's probably the best we've executed this year."
Kansas (3-1) also got senior guard Travis Releford out of a season-long slump. Releford had yet to hit a shot outside of the paint and was 0 for 11 from that distance coming into the game. A couple of easy buckets early got him going, and he made all three of his 3-point attempts, scoring a game-high 17 points.
With the shots falling, the Jayhawks were incredibly efficient against the Cougars (2-2). They shot 64 percent in the first half from the field, made 13 of 14 free throws, grabbed five of their 10 missed shots and scored on 24 of 32 possessions.
A 50-21 halftime score allowed Self to rest his starters for much of the second half. That should be beneficial as KU takes on Saint Louis, which beat Texas A&M 70-49, in Tuesday's championship game.
Highlight moment: Ben McLemore posterizing his teammate. KU freshman Perry Ellis got a steal and went in on the other end for a layup, throwing it too hard off the glass. McLemore jumped up and over teammate Jamari Traylor for the putback jam.
When the game turned: McLemore hit his second 3-pointer two minutes into the game to put Kansas up 10-2. It was clear at that point that Washington State had no chance of playing Kansas close.
- Releford -- 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting and 3 for 3 at the free throw line
- McLemore -- 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
- Kansas C Jeff Withey -- 8 points, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, 1 steal
What they said:
- Releford on busting out of his slump: "Coming into this game, my teammates and coaches continued to have faith in me shooting the ball, and they just told me to stop thinking about it and keep being me and do what I do. It felt great."
- Self on KU's defense: "I think they missed shots. They were 9 of 20 at one time, so that means they go 8 of 37 the rest of the game. I don't think a lot of that was defense. I think they just missed shots. We played the scouting report pretty well."
- Self on KU's offense: "I thought we ran offense to score in the first half as opposed to just running offense because you're supposed to run it, and we picked our spots a little better."
- Self on Saint Louis: "They remind me of Davidson in that they're really physical. They're sneaky physical and don't give up easy baskets, and you've got to make shots against them and tonight A&M didn't. Their big guys can stretch it and our ball-screen defense has been suspect at best many times early on in the season, so the way they play could present problems if we're not amped up and ready to go."
Numbers you should know: The Jayhawks had a season-low nine turnovers. ... Washington State shot only three free throws, and Kansas made 20 of 22 from the line. ... Senior forward Kevin Young started for the first time this season and grabbed 10 rebounds in 18 minutes.
- Kansas: vs. Saint Louis (2-1), Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
- Washington State: vs. Texas A&M (3-1), Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12 on Twitter. You can also follow C.J. (@cjmoore4) and Patrick (@patricksouthern).